Business Law Legal Topics

Another Delay in Enforcement of “Red Flags” Rule

On May 28, 2010, the FTC postponed enforcement of the “Red Flag” rule until December 31, 2010 to allow Congress to consider legislation that would affect the scope of entities covered by the Rule.

As we reported earlier, the FTC developed the rule as required by the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act. Under the Act, “creditors” must implement written identify-theft-prevention programs to detect the warning signs — or “red flags” — of identity theft in their day-to-day operations. In the Rule, the FTC has defined “creditor” to include professionals who might allow their patients or clients to pay over time.

Business Law Employment Law Public Law

Who Is Reading Your Texts?

I could be reading your texts. Or at least if I was your employer.

The Supreme Court heard arguments in City of Ontario, Calif. v. Quon on the issue of whether an employee has a reasonable expectation of privacy from employer snooping in their texts.

Bankruptcy Law Real Property Law

Economy Still Stressed: Foreclosure, Unemployment and Bankruptcies

On April 13, 2010 the Associated Press reported in its Economic Stress Index, that the US economy in February was still under “stress” with a score of 11.8, although the number was slightly down from its all time high of 11.9 in January. The Index calculates a score for more than 3100 counties based on the county’s unemployment, foreclosure and bankruptcy rates. A higher score means things are worse, and a score above 11 generally indicates economic stress.

The nation’s most economically distressed states were: Nevada (21.4), Michigan (17.84), California (16.94), Florida (16.26) and

New Legal Developments

Court Overrules FCC Authority Over Net Neutrality

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, recently issued an order overturning the FCC’s August 2008 ruling against Comcast. The FCC order would have required the provider to “give equal treatment to all Internet traffic flowing over their networks” according to the Huffington Post.

Litigation Strategy Practice of Law

Appearing in Virtual Court

With advances in technology, the idea of a digital courtroom in which the attorneys and judge appear from different locations seems more and more possible. concluded that the trend toward “digital lawyering” made it more possible that some day “digital court” will be a reality. Because the federal courts already use a paperless, digital, electronic case filing system, which has numerous practical and cost advantages, Lawyerist notes that state courts are believed to be moving in the same direction.  Bruce Carton from Legal Blog Watch opines that

[V]ideo conference hearings are a no-brainer and should be fairly common within five years. Actual video trials, however, would be a logistical mess in my opinion and are not coming any time soon.

An internet search for the term “digital trials” reveals that there are already resources available for presenting evidence digitally, such as this digital courtroom in Washington state.

What do you think, are virtual trials coming soon to a digital courtroom near you?

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Bankruptcy Law Business Law Legal Topics

Attorneys Are “Debt Relief Agencies” Under Bankruptcy Code

On March 8, 2010, the United States Supreme Court in Milavetz, Gallop & Milavetz, P.A. v. United States (2010) 559 U S ____, 2010 US Lexis 2206, 10 C.D.O.S. 2797 ruled that attorneys fall within the definition of “debt relief agencies” in Bankruptcy Code §101(12A). This means that advertising rules in Bankruptcy Code §528(a)(4) and limitations on advice to debtors in Bankruptcy Code §526(a)(4) apply to attorneys.

Practice of Law

Keeping Up With Politics On-Line

How fast is your life and practice changing because of new technology? According to a recent article in the Contra Costa Times by Lisa Vorderbrueggen, the following “technological marvels …reach[ed] 50 million users” in:

  • Radio — 38 years
  • Television — 13 years
  • Internet — 4 years
Business Law

FTC Guides Apply to Bloggers

Effective December 1, 2009, the FTC updated its Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising, including among the changes a requirement that “bloggers who make an endorsement must disclose the material connections they share with the seller of the product or service.”

Business Law New Legal Developments

Red Flags Rule Now Effective June 1, 2010

Note: On May 28, the FTC postponed the effective date of these rules through December 31, 2010.  See updated blog post here.

Under the Federal Trade Commission’s “Red Flags Rule,” financial institutions and creditors with “covered accounts” must develop protocols to detect and prevent identity theft. The new deadline for complying with this Rule is June 1, 2010. This effective date has been postponed several times, most recently from November 1, 2009, because:

a number of industries and entities within the FTC’s jurisdiction expressed confusion and uncertainty about their coverage by and/or obligations under the rule. See the earlier FTC Statement and the FTC Red Flag website.


California Law Professor Is Court Nominee

President Obama nominated Goodwin Liu, a former law clerk to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Liu is a law professor and associate dean at the University of California at Berkeley.

Since this announcement on February 24, 2010, there has arisen a “vigorous debate over what Liu’s jurisprudence would look like if he were confirmed.” As discussed in detail on